February 19, 2012

The Reading Files - Novella Time

This past week has been solely dedicated to novellas. The reason? Apart from the wonderful feeling of scratching seven books from my unread books list I'm very proud for finally getting started on books from last year's free eBook hoarding.
The following books are all from Carina Press, which basically means they all offer a whole lot of romance. Who am I kidding? We're talking more like Erotica, in most cases anyway.

The Sevenfold Spell (Tia Nevitt)
Source: free
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?
Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying "good" fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.
Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.
Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia's prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation--which plays right into the evil fairy's diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she's willing to make?

Title & Cover: Lovely and perfect for the story!
Story: A whole new take on the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty!
Narrative: Bubbly and even a wee bit silly, but in a good way!
Characters: These characters are a wonderful crossover of your typical fairy tale cast and people you probably know in real life.
Thoughts: The first couple pages made me wonder where this story was going, but then I couldn't help but continue reading (and giggling for that matter). Definitely an unusual fairy tale retelling and oh so much fun!

Photographs & Phantoms (Cindy Spencer Pape)
#1.5 Gaslight Chronicles
Source: free
Genre: Paranormal Romance

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order's most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.
Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother's gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?
As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way—but it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart ...

Title & Cover: Good one! Love the color theme!
Story: Photographs show a demon killing people. Whodunit with a paranormal touch.
Narrative: Your average read - not overly thrilling, not boring either.
Characters: The characters certainly have potential, but alas it's a short book, so ...
Thoughts: Actually more of a long short story than an actual novella this was quite an enjoyable read. Yet I could have seriously done without the whole romance thing as it felt more shoehorned into the plot than actually belonging there.

The Debutante's Dilemma (Elyse Mady)
Source: free
Genre: Historical Romance

One woman in search of passion
Miss Cecilia Hastings has achieved what every young lady hopes for during her first London season…in duplicate! She’s caught the eye of not one but two of England’s most eligible bachelors. Both Jeremy Battersley, Earl of Henley, and Richard Huxley, Duke of Wexford are handsome, wealthy and kind, the epitome of proper gentlemen. But Cecelia doesn’t want proper, she wants passion. So she issues a challenge to her suitors: a kiss, so that she may choose between them.
Two men in love with the same woman
Friends since childhood, and compatriots on the battlefields of Spain, falling for the same woman has set Jeremy and Richard at odds, and risks destroying their friendship forever. But a surprising invitation to a late-night garden tryst soon sets them on a course that neither of them could have anticipated. And these gentlemen quickly discover that love can take many forms …

Title & Cover: Innocent girl with a naughty streak? The cover says it all.
Story: Girl can't choose between two suitors and ... chooses both. Okaaay!
Narrative: I really loved the eloquent writing (despite sometimes feeling the need to get out the dictionary) - yep, I recognize talent when I see it!
Characters: Uhm alright, they weren't bad, but frankly this little book lives off the hot scenes if you know what I mean *wink*.
Thoughts: To be honest, there's not much of a story here, then again this is a very short book. If you like well written steamy stories, I say go for it.

The Twisted Tale Of Stormy Gale (Christine Bell)
Source: free
Genre: Steampunk Romance

I'm a time pirate—born in 1810, now a 21st-century woman. I travel through time trying to right wrongs without disrupting the fragile balance between what is and what can never be.
That's why it's vital that I go to 1836 and find the man who conned my brother out of his Time Travel Mechanism as quickly as possible. If the technology falls into the wrong hands, it could change the world as we know it. The notorious Duke of Leister definitely qualifies as the wrong hands. An amateur scientist of the slightly mad variety, he's bound to figure out how to use the TTM sooner rather than later.
I knew this wouldn't be easy. But I wasn't counting on him being as sexy as hell. Or winding up chained to his bed …

Title & Cover: Neat cover, yet what's up with that title?
Story: Time travel with a twist (which might explain the title after all).
Narrative: Light but witty!
Characters: I'm having a hard time judging characters in such short books, argh!
Thoughts: As a novella it was an ok read, yet I really see this one working as a full fledged novel. The right ingredients are definitely there.

Blue Galaxy (Diane Dooley)
Source: free
Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Falling in love is easy; staying alive long enough to enjoy it just might be impossible.
Javan Rhodes, the hard-drinking, disreputable captain of space freighter The Kypris, took a mission to save himself from hitting the bottom of the food chain. Transporting Sola, a beautiful young aristocrat, from Earth to an unknown destination on the outer rim of the colonies is lucrative, but also highly illegal.
As tough as it is to evade both the law and the lawless, the hardest part of the job is not falling in love with his irresistible cargo. Just as he decides that he will never be able to hand her over to the warlord she must marry, he discovers that Sola has been playing a very dangerous game--one that could not only cost them their lives, but could also affect the balance of power in an increasingly dangerous universe.

Title & Cover: Ewww ... that cover is definitely a turn-off!
Story: Captain transports some sexy cargo which isn't at all what she seems.
Narrative: Maybe not awful, but pretty darn close.
Characters: Let me introduce you to a dumb-thinking-with-his-you-know-what captain and a psychopathic-super-sexy cargo, uhm, heroine.
Thoughts: Where do I begin? Alright then. The idea itself isn't all that bad, but ... oh never mind.

Demon's Fall (Karalynn Lee)
Source: free
Genre: Paranormal Romance

When Kenan, an incubus, finds a caged angel for sale in the Hellsgate marketplace, he sees her as a challenge. Certain that his skills in seduction will work as well on a heavenly creature as they do on mortal women, he buys Jahel, intent on having her soul as a novelty in his collection.
Knowing he must gain Jahel's trust if she is to come to his bed willingly, Kenan treats her more as his guest than as his slave. When she reveals what brought her to the mouth of Hell in the first place-retrieving the soul of a young girl she was guarding-he even offers to help her complete her mission.
Though he has promised Jahel freedom, Kenan soon realizes she has captured his heart instead. And as their passion for one another grows, they find themselves caught in a struggle between Heaven and Hell, one that will lead them to the very edge of the apocalypse ...

Title & Cover: Beautiful and works great with the blue monochromatic color scheme!
Story: Incubus wants to steal an angel's soul and instead falls in love with her.
Narrative: Fast paced and well written. Pulled me right into the story.
Characters: This could have been a total black & white thing, but it's not, yay!
Thoughts: Loved the world building of this one and could well imagine more stories in this setting. And what a sweet HEA!

Friendly Fire (Megan Hart)
Source: free
Genre: Contemporary Romance

After Agent Kendall Frasier's partner is shot in "friendly fire" during a drug bust, she agrees to take a week's vacation on a tropical island as part of her psychiatric evaluation. Sand, sun, sea--what could be better to help her work through her guilt? Even if the presence of the man responsible for the shooting, Agent Zane Vincent, seems counterproductive to her mental health.
As Kendall gets to know Zane, and realizes he feels worse about what happened than she does, it becomes impossible to hate him. And their mutual attraction becomes impossible to deny.
Kendall and Zane soon agree to put the event that brought them together in the past--and spend the present exploring their most erotic desires. Do they have a future in the real world when their week in paradise is over?

Title & Cover: A man's chest, no matter how nice it may be to look at, doesn't translate into great cover art. This one's just so, well, bland!
Story: In the aftermath of a shooting, the two affected agents come to terms with what happened and get to know each other, uhm, a little bit better too.
Narrative: A quick, sexy read!
Characters: Short and romance and complex characters do go together after all.
Thoughts: I just realized this is the only contemporary story I read in this novella haul and it proves how even shorter books (alright, let's call it more of a long short story again) can have well devised characters and an actual plot which is something that not even full novels don't always have.


  1. You had some fun this week, eh? Seven at one stroke, too! Well done!

  2. Wow, great short reviews, Birgit! if you like fairy tales with a twist I highly recommend Ember by Bettie Sharp, it's free, and I loved it! http://www.bettiesharpe.com/free-reads/